It’s a boy!

IMG_6921male_sago

Sagos throughout the Lowcountry are busy reproducing. As a result strange, alien-like, growth* is developing in the center of these “palms”. Each week customers come in to the garden center to voice their concern about this “growth” which has appeared on their sagos. After a bit of an explanation and a few good laughs they leave reassured that their sago is healthy.

So what is going on? Sagos are dioecious plants, meaning that there are male plants (pictured above) and female plants (pictured below). The male produces a yellowish-tan colored cone which frequently extends above the surrounding fronds. The female on the other hand grows a megasporophyll, which is made of modified leaves that somewhat resemble a flattened pineapple. It is within this structure, provided that pollination occurs, orange-red seeds develop. Wind or insects assist in the pollination of Sagos.

A few Sago facts:
They are cycads, not palms.
Cycads are more closely related to conifers than palms
Sagos grow slowly from seed
All parts of a sago are extremely poisonous.

IMG_6908female_sag

*If your sagos are not showing these signs don’t worry, they may be too immature.
-Susan